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The Dangers of Inhalants

Inhalants are mind altering (psychoactive drugs.)  They are referred to as inhalants because they are typically taken into the body by inhaling them. 

Inhalants can be found in the home or workplace and include solvents, aerosols, gases and nitrates.

Inhalants can be placed in a bag or a container, put on a rag, or inhaled from a balloon. People inhale these vapors in many different ways, including sniffing, snorting, or spraying directly into their nose or mouth.  

Volatile Solvents – Are liquids that vaporize at room temperature and include paint thinners, paint removers, dry cleaning fluids, gasoline, glues, correction fluids and felt-tip markers.

Aerosols – are sprays that contain solvents and include deodorants, hair spray, vegetable oils and fabric protectors.

Gases – Include chloroform, halothane, ether, lighter fluid and nitrous oxide (laughing gas.)  Whipped cream charger sometimes referred to whippit, whippet, nosy, nang or chargers are steel cylinder or cartridge filled with nitrous oxide.  Nitrous oxide is a colorless gas and is classed as a dissociative anesthetic.

Effects on the brain

Most inhalants affect the central nervous system and slow down brain activity. 

Short-term effects are similar to alcohol and include:

  • Euphoria
  • Slurred speech
  • Dizziness
  • Unsteady gait
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting

Long-term effects include: 

  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Behavioral development
  • Loss of oxygen to the brain, hypoxia
  • Hearing loss
  • Bone marrow damage
  • Memory loss
  • Muscle spasms
  • Tremors

Inhalants can even cause death, even after one use

  • Cardiac arrest
  • Asphyxiation
  • Suffocation
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures
  • Coma                      
  • Choking

If you or something else needs help with dependency to inhalants, please don’t hesitate to call the AToN Center at (877) 428-6672 or (858)759-5017.

References:  drugfree.org  drugabuse.gov.

Johnina Noar, CADC-II
AToN Center 888-535-1516